Derby Day cheers for Diamond Queen

First published in National News © by

Derby Day spectators welcomed the Queen as she began her Diamond Jubilee celebrations with cheers and applause on her annual visit to the Epsom racecourse.

She chose to spend the start of national festivities marking her 60-year reign in a world she knows well - one of thoroughbreds, jockeys, trainers and owners.

Leaden skies which threatened rain gave way to summer sunshine after the Queen took her place in the Royal Box, surrounded by her family and with horse trainer John Warren on hand for some valuable advice.

The four-day bank holiday will see spectacular events staged across the nation, and the Archbishop of York joined the growing ranks paying tribute to the Queen this weekend.

Dr John Sentamu, who was five days away from his third birthday at the time of the Queen's 1953 Coronation, said: "The thing about the Queen is she's just an ordinary English person with a great sense of humour. If you're not very careful, she could pull your leg without you realising she's pulling your leg. She has no airs and graces."

A cheer went up when the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were driven down the Surrey racecourse and, when they stepped from their state limousine, soprano Katherine Jenkins was on hand to sing the National Anthem.

Derby Day is an occasion when all elements of British society gather on the Epsom Downs. The wealthy, wearing top hats and tails, sipped champagne in the Queen's Stand, and on the course's famous hill in the middle of the track a funfair and amusements were staged for other racegoers.

The race was won easily by St Nicholas Abbey and the Queen presented trophies to the winning owners, trainer and jockey. Philip and Edward watched from the Royal Box and shared a joke as they looked down on the presentation.


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